Session 1 – Reforms in Higher Education: How Far Have we Reached and What can be Done?

Higher education dialogue among various stakeholders should not be stuck at lamenting about age-old problems. There are systemic issues which cannot change overnight nor can their glacial movement be tracked on a tangible basis. Nevertheless, the system does not stop working, whatever its pace may be. The aim of this session is to assess the Impact of the Reforms initiated till date and those still required (short term & long term) with a special focus on Key Areas around Regulatory Reforms (Divergent Inspections and Norms by Multiple Regulatory Bodies-One Window Approach) which do not necessarily require Parliamentary Legislation or major Policy Interventions; Role of Accreditation (multiple independent agencies in a decentralized manner); Corporate Social Responsibility (to strengthen Industry-Academia Interface); Optimum Utilization of Resources (common sharing); Fiscal issues of Education Sector (Taxation, endowments, Inability of Institutions to garner surpluses for institutional building etc.); and issues related to center-state coordination.

Session 2: Higher Education in States

After the consolidation of work at primary and secondary level through the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), the Ministry of Human Resource Development is focusing on higher education and has developed the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) for better channelization of funds in higher education. RUSA proposes a new centrally sponsored scheme for higher education which will spread over two Plan periods (12th and 13th) and focus on state higher education institutions. The rationale for the new scheme is that majority of students are in the state sector and UGC funding is restricted to only 6014 colleges (out of a total of 13,024) under Section 2(f) / 12(B) of UGC Act 1956 as on 31.3.2006. Under RUSA, central funding would flow from MHRD through State Councils of Higher Education to institutions. This session will bring speakers from state governments on a common platform to share their experiences and their expectations from RUSA. The second edition of Annual Status of Higher Education in States and Union Territories of India—ASHE 2013 Report will be released on this occasion.

Session 3: Innovation Challenges in Emerging Markets

The world economy has been facing a rough patch for the past six-seven years. The global meltdown has taught us newer ways of looking at solving both financial and economic problems. While more and more emphasis is now on conserving and consolidating resources, the troubled times have also led to several kinds of changes in the way human resource is shaped up to face these challenges. This session will look at how an innovative ecosystem can create excellence in higher education.

Session 4: Learning from AICTE-CII Survey of Industry-Linked Technical Institutes

In 2012, a first-of-its-kind survey of industry-linked technical institutes was started by CII in partnership with AICTE. While only six streams of engineering were covered under this survey last year, this year its scope has been increased to 10 streams of engineering, plus management, architecture and pharmacy. This session will focus on discussing some of the issues in engineering education.

Session 5: Industry Investment in Research & Development with Academia

This session will commemorate the first anniversary of Prime Minister’s Fellowship Scheme for Doctoral Research which was launched on the same day in 2012, in partnership with Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), Department of Science and Technology. Under this scheme PhD fellows are given double scholarship—by both government and industry—to do research on industry-relevant projects. Experts from industry and academia will share their views on joint research in this session.

Session 6: Foreign Education Providers and their India Plans

Though we have the third largest higher education system in the world, there are still many things that we need to learn from other countries, especially in the area of collaboration between industry and academia. In light of the latest move of the government allowing foreign universities to set up campuses in India, this session will provide an opportunity to representatives of some of the key foreign universities to talk about their India plans and the time-frame they envisage for these to fructify.

Session 7: Leveraging Technology for Innovation in Higher Education

Though innovation in higher education entails much more than technical improvisation, technology does play a big role in spreading its reach and making the imparting of lessons more lucid and interesting. Technology is also emerging as the sole answer to some of the burning problems in higher education—lack of good quality teachers and absence of project-based learning approach. This session will bring industry players and academics as well as technology experts on a common platform to discuss the latest trends and offerings such as Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs--how they are changing the way learning is imparted, government initiatives such as the Quality Enhancement in Engineering Education or the QEEE programme and the 100 colleges pilot project.